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Zhu Shanlu initiates the first class for Beida freshmen

SEP . 14 2013

Peking University, Sept. 5: “What Beida people pursue is not our personal interest, but the cause of justice. We are to create a better life for people all over the world”, said PKU Council Chairman Zhu Shanlu in the “First Class for Beida Freshman” on September 2.


Chairman Zhu welcomed all new students before he gave a lecture titled The ‘Da’ of the university and the Responsibility of Beida New Youth for over 3,100 freshmen in the “First Class”. He said that the freshmen are always curious and confused when they first come to the campus, and the university education is the process of giving the students answers.


Lasting for more than two hours, the lecture mainly covered three topics: university, Beida and the responsibility of Beida youth.


The “First Class for Beida Freshman”


Zhu Shanlu giving a lecture in the “First Class”


The one who oversees the big (Da) can handle the small


Zhu started the lecture with an old saying quoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in a letter to inspire the young students, which was “The one who oversees the big ( Da ) can handle the small; the one who only pursue short-term interest can never achieve accomplishment”. “Overseeing the big ( Deqida ) is important for university students, especially for Beida people”, Zhu pointed out, “The big ( Da ) usually refers to the direction, the guidance, the soul, the spirit and the ‘Dao’ (According to an article on PhoenixNet, ‘Dao’ signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the universe. It also refers to the truth which can lead people to the free world, or simply means a path, a way, a thinking method or a scientific theory system that the teacher imparts to students). It is the core value and the fundamental orientation of a university. Beida students should learn to oversee the big, comprehend the meaning of ‘Dao’, and pay attention to the knowledge and skills as well.”


Zhu interpreted the meanings of “imparting ‘Dao’”, “teaching knowledge and skills” and “resolving doubts”, and the relations of the three. Speaking of the difference between “university” and “college”, he said that the former focused on “Dao” while the latter on knowledge and skills. Therefore, he emphasized that “a university is an institution of higher education which should attach great importance on imparting ‘Dao’”.


Zhu also noted, “Beida people should always insist the principle of ‘freedom of thoughts, and an all-embracing attitude’ ( Sixiang ziyou, jianrong bingbao ) like they have been doing for so long. Thus, Beida class should be a place where students and faculty can discuss and change their views freely.”


Zhu Shanlu then elaborated the origin and the evolution of the western university ever since the Middle Ages in Europe, highlighting the history of some well-known universities and the influential ideology of those pioneers who took a lead in the innovative development of universities. He also introduced the educational patterns and the institution setting of universities in ancient China, like Xiangxu (local schools in ancient China), Taixue (the highest rank of educational establishment in ancient China between the Han Dynasty and Sui Dynasty, according to Wikipedia), and Guozijian (the national central institution of higher learning in Chinese dynasties after the Sui, according to Wikipedia).


The “Dao” of Peking University and Beida dream


When introducing the University’s 115-year history, Zhu said that PKU, the “Imperial University of Peking” as the first established national university of China and also the country’s highest education administrative institution at that time, was founded to save our country from the subjugation by foreign powers in 1898. That’s one reason why PKU was a center of patriotic and progressive thought. Zhu also expounded the unique historical role PKU played in China’s New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, the Foundation of the Communist Party of China and many other significant events. Many prominent modern Chinese thinkers, such as Cai Yuanpei, Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, Mao Zedong and Lu Xun, contributed a lot in the evolution of PKU’s spiritual tradition of “patriotism, progress, democracy, science” and the innovative philosophy of education.


After looking back upon the first one-hundred-year history of PKU, Zhu introduced the status quo of PKU and the achievements it has made ever since PKU set the goals of edging into the world-class universities. The “Beida 2048” perspective plan and the three-step strategy defined on the 12th Party Congress at PKU are the keywords in Chairman Zhu’s interpretation of Beida dream.


Cultivating talents in pursuit of the Chinese dream


Zhu Shanlu emphasized the close relationship between the Beida dream of building a world-class university and the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and further explained the responsibility of Beida youth.


"What Beida people pursue is not personal interest, but the cause of justice. We are to create a better life for people all over the world. That’s what makes PKU different.” Zhu said, “All of you will be the main force in all walks of life in the pursuit of the Chinese dream. All of you shall be the hope for the future of our country!”


He encouraged all freshmen to keep in mind what President Xi said, carrying forward the spiritual tradition of PKU, and shouldering the responsibility for national prosperity and people’s well-being. “What makes PKU stand out is in its responsibility, its vision, its feelings, and its pursuit.” Zhu said, “PKU strives to cultivate the talents who can help realize the Chinese dream; all of Beida youth should work hard to contribute to the Chinese dream.”


New students concentrating on the “First Class”  


Written by: Zhu Wenjia

Edited by: Zhang Jiang

Source: PKU News (Chinese)